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Employment Contract & Terms

Statutory Employment Rights in Republic of Ireland

Points to note:

Under Irish law, even if you do not have a written employment contract, if you are working for an employer for a regular wage or salary, you automatically have a contract of employment.

Employment legislation in Ireland recognises agreements between employer and employee even if not written down. The agreement can be oral, and more importantly for employers and employees – implied.

Certain employee rights are recognised by the state which supersede any agreements between employer and employee. An example is Irish maternity leave. Even if maternity leave is not part of the agreement between employer and employee, or an agreement is made not to apply the particular law, the employee still has their statutory right to maternity leave.

Other of these recognised and statutory rights can be viewed direct from the Irish Government’s website.

Written Employment Contracts

While the complete contract of employment does not have to be in writing, the Terms of Employment (Information) Act 1994-2001, says that certain terms of the contract must be put in writing.

This requirement does not apply to employees who have been employed for less than one month.

But it’s important to note this condition now (since 2001) covers workers who work for an employer less than 8 hours per week via the Protection of Employment (Part-Time Work) Act, 2001

You can negotiate the terms of employment with your employer but any agreement entered into cannot offer terms less than the statutory/legal minimum entitlements listed below.

Your employer is required under the Terms of Employment (Information) Act, 1994 and 2001 to give you certain information in writing the important elements of your terms of employment within two months of your start date.

This information must include:

The following are the terms that must be present in the written contract:
  • Employer’s and employee’s full name;
  • Address of the employer – if the employers is a company then the registered office;
  • The place of work or, if it is the case, the fact that the employee is required to work in a variety of locations;
  • Job title or the nature of the employment;
  • Date the employment began;
  • The details of the contract if it is fixed;
  • Expected length of the contract if it is temporary;
  • Details of rest periods and breaks as required by law.
  • rate of remuneration [and the pay reference period for the purposes of the National Minimum Wage Act];
  • the pay period (the intervals at which you will be paid);
  • hours of work (including overtime);
  • paid leave;
  • arrangements for when you are unable to work due to sickness or injury;
  • pensions and pension schemes;
  • periods of notice which both your employer and you must give on ending employment;
  • reference to any collective agreements which affect your work contract;
  • Statement of employee's right to request and obtain a written statement from the employer of the employee’s average hourly rate of pay for any pay reference period within the previous 12 months. Minimum Wage Act, 2000.
If you are asked to work abroad by your employer, you are entitled to receive certain terms in writing before departure, including the period of employment outside Ireland and the currency your wages will be paid in.

Probationary Periods:
Your contract can include a probationary period and can allow for this period to be extended. If you are on probation, you cannot rely on unfair dismissals legislation unless you have worked more than one year's service or are dismissed for trade union membership or activity, pregnancy-related matters or claiming maternity rights. Rights such as information on matters like terms of employment, holidays and pay slips apply to an employee even while he or she is on probation.

If your employer fails to give you written details of the terms of your contract, you can bring a complaint to a Rights Commissioner.

You must make the complaint while you are in employment or within 6 months of leaving your employment.

Application forms for this are available from:

The Rights Commissioner Service
Tom Johnson House
Haddington Road
Dublin 4
Tel: 00353 1660 9662

Pre Employment Trials:
NB: If you go to an interview, and the employer asks you to come in for a trial, i.e. for a couple of days or a week or two, this is not a probationary period as stated in an employment contract.

This is a pre employment trial. But in this, and employer must tell you beforehand how long the trial is for, and on it’s immediate end, let you know if you are being kept on or not. It you are allowed to work on past the specified trial end date, without any correspondence from the employer, you will then fall into employment and have rights if a month passes.

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